Thursday, July 11, 2019

The lost pages

Stories and News No. 1170
 
This story comes from an afternoon of few months ago.
I was late and I was in a hurry. When that happens I tend to bend my head down, on the sidewalk, prompted to do so by the fear of stumbling or, at worst, falling.
I never liked hurry and, since I can remember, I try to move from home in time, so that I can enjoy the beauty of every journey.
Read also that as the many gifts that await us along the travel between the departure and the arrival.
Well, that day, I began to notice some book pages on the ground.
They were scattered one after the other, some I noticed under a parked car and others ended up in a bush.
I took a handful of seconds to look at one up close. I crouched and saw that the paper was yellowed, then aged.
I didn't know the title of the novel, but it's not important here. That is, it is immensely, but to me, I keep it for myself, I hope you don't mind.
On the contrary, I would like to share with you where the thoughts on those lost pages led me.
Torn and then thrown away, who knows when, by whom and more than ever why.
The first thing I thought was that, if I hadn't looked down at that moment, I would never have noticed their presence.
Usually, when I walk on the street, my eyes wander frantically on my fellows and all living beings almost always earn my utmost attention.
It would have been a pity, in my humble opinion, since in this way I would have missed the stimulating fantasizing about who the mysterious person and his reasons are in getting rid of a whole book, piece by piece, word by word.

Consequently, I found myself wondering if this observation did not conceal a greater depth, perhaps with a further general value and, as the days went by, I realized that the answer was affirmative.
The metaphor is clear and probably is able to exhaustively describe what is happening to us all, in these frantic and confused times.
The only difference is that hurry was my favorable counselor, or messenger of a forgotten tale left behind by invisible protagonists.
Nevertheless, it’s an exception to the rule that sees calm and nonchalance towards other people's worries to allow us to see the wonders beyond the boundaries of the viral realm.
Every day the burning anxiety and the blind ambition of being able to be part of the latter at all costs is keeping us away from a lots of other forgotten pages.
Sometimes they are stories, or as in the above case, just fragments.
They are often real human beings whose weight in the privileged plot is so evanescent that in order to observe them with the right sharpness we need such a wide gaze we could use only with the help of all the effort and time from our distracted heart.
Many times, beyond the sacred confines of the artificial horizon that we are obsessed with, there are also shreds of ourselves.
All the memories that we have mistakenly considered trivial.
Those whom we have branded in the same way, guilty of having only touched us for a fleeting moment.
But above all, the fragile baggage of dreams and hopes that we too soon dismissed as childish or even dangerous.
Well, let it be due to haste rather than calm, I hope that you, too, will have the luck to find once in a while your lost pages...


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Thursday, July 4, 2019

The youngest vote fairy tale

Stories and News No. 1169
 
Once upon a time a land.
You could also call it State or Nation, Republic and democracy.
Nevertheless, using expressions such as a set of citizens, or even daring to bring up the much-undervalued community of individuals, you would still not be wrong.
Because you would always be talking about the same concept: a place inhabited by human beings, whose related existence is, in this case, regulated by a specific government’s condition.
You could also call theme as the administrators of public affairs, or those who have been appointed to represent all the inhabitants, facilitating their requests and guiding the community towards a better quality of existence.
In any case, you would be right.

Because the task and the associated responsibilities would be the same: to preserve the present of a population with absolute consideration, working hard to guarantee its future.
Present and future, this is where I hoped this brief history would lead us.
Words whose meaning has been neglected for too long by my generation and by those that preceded it.
So, take what follows as a mere provocation.
That is, as a naive fairy tale.
Despite progress and efforts, imagine if for once we could operate a sort of paradoxical restriction to the voting right, turning the current age limits upside down.
Let us imagine that the right to vote was granted only to minors, not the other way round.
Anyway, present and future should not be topics of their authoritative competence?
Who better than the one who lives the actual time with the greatest involvement, with his eyes at the same time perpetually turned to the future, could suggest the most sensible questions to deal with?
Instead of letting ourselves perpetuating the affection towards answers that have not worked properly even in the past...
However, the real wonder would take place during the subsequent election campaign.
No unscrupulous populist could take advantage of the ignorance of the new voters. Most of the young people are inexperienced and sometimes childlike, but the stubborn dedication to feed the absolute disinformation about facts is clearly an adult obsession.
No barker looking for easy chairs could exploit their fear.
Courage, sometimes reckless, but often praiseworthy is a requirement that they still have intact, while the blind and obtuse panic is a virus that obscures, on the contrary, many of their elder fellow citizens, from whom they must defend themselves strenuously every day.
No one will be able to deceive them with the usual false promises.
Teenagers will have so many flaws, but they also have the merit of having the innate ability to perceive whoever stands before them without credibility and with the sole intent to lie.
Then, the best show would be seeing the searchers for
power forced to speak clear and simple, without wasting time on useless as well as fraudulent frills, addressing the essential and priority issues to those who take precedence over us all, in the present as well as in the future.
Starting from the care of the environment and the whole nature, education and culture, sports, as well as support for each family, without any distinction, of which young people are a fundamental part.
On the other hand, fable or not, they are the real heart of our society. But for once they would have that decision-making power that would force us to listen to their most immediate requests, as well as dreams and hopes.
Honestly and with the utmost realism, do you really believe that they could do worse than we have done so far?


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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Fragments of photos and news

Stories and News No. 1168
 
Here we are, at the end of the day, no matter how much we can rant and scream, pontificate and even insult, the meeting with the others beyond the boundaries of our moral solitude could only be reduced to that.
Fragments.
More or less sensitive or exploitable fragments of photos,

news and more than ever lives that necessarily need a much larger number of human details to understand them.
It’s one of our main problems modern, people of this hyper-connected society, made up of perpetually running clock hands and eyes and ears that can't wait to jump to another digital table, to enjoy new, flavorless but so sparkling food.
Because it should be obvious at any age and for any IQ that single humans’ story is not physically synthesizable in such a tiny portion of pixels.
None of the protagonists of the latter really would like it, not even us. And above all, in many, too many, they surely don’t deserve it.
Oscar and his daughter Valeria’s passage on this earth was composed of priceless pieces that will be infinitely precious to those who will be forced to survive with the void generated by their premature death.
Nevertheless, they have immense value also for the rest of the world which has somehow come into their sad story.
Like so many, like everyone else, as you and me, and like so many unfortunate creatures of this land who earn the doleful record of the five minutes of popularity in the worst moment of their lives, that young father, that fragile little girl, have been something else.
Once upon a time Oscar also had the size of a child, just like his daughter.
You may read both as the legitimate offspring of the world with a baggage full of dreams and rights to which we all must pay sacred attention; and no one feels sufficiently innocent or distant.
At the same time, during the few months in which Valeria deeply breathed and cried with the same commitment, learned to imitate the smile and to design it on her face with wonderful spontaneity, to know the difference between falling and falling, but then getting up again, and to experience the eternal dance between the inimitable warmth of parents’ closeness and the indescribable sadness due to their temporary absence, there were no photographers’ flashes and reporters to observe it.
However, consciously choosing to ignore such an evidence, we would make a great mistake, which has now become the chronic myopia of heart and conscience of an entire generation.
Facing with the bitter image that has once again become viral for unclean reasons we have the obligation to widen our gaze and find out what was left out of the frame, however feverishly clicked and a second later shared, erasing all memory.
For example, Oscar and Valeria had respectively a wife and a mother named Tania, who was ready to join them on the privileged bank of their adverse fate.
We must not be afraid to imagine the three in the folds of the past before all that is usually consumed by the ravenous mass media.
Because we should never be afraid to mirror ourselves in the misfortune of others, instead of striving obsessively to find space in the stars’ success.
I'm talking about common stuff, you know?
A mother who wants the best for her only daughter.
A father who wishes to keep the promise made to the woman he has decided to love.
We'll be fine, honey.
We’ll be happy, my dear.
We’ll all have what our parents could not even conceive, was the common, shared aspiration.
For all of that, a single photo, a good article and, maybe, not even the most prestigious editorial would not be enough. And yet, the fate of the victims portrayed, when they could still be saved, it’s decided in an instant with a quick and absent-minded click on the mouse, as by an electoral vote.
There is something terribly wrong before and after every second we burn our time to continue this mad rush.
If we really want to change things, to remedy about them, or at least to try to reverse the dangerous curve of our history, perhaps, we must begin to collect from the ground all the fragments we have left behind on the road, before the wind of our inhumanity will completely disperse them...


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Thursday, June 20, 2019

World Refugee Day 2019 story: human refuge

Stories and News No. 1167
 
Once upon a time our body, that despite the technological regression, and the illusion of digital closeness, in shapes and large part of its substance it’s still human.
It happens during the summer, on the beaches, at the sea or near any waterway, remembering what inevitably makes us similar, and often identical.
In one word, refuges.
This is really one of the most reliable measures of nature itself that distinguishes us as living creatures, in every time and place.
As refugees, safe in the womb of a mother, we perceive the delineation of the contours and the precious and fragile contents that define us as unique.
Everyone, without any exception, we come into the world torn from the right and ideal heat, but from that moment we desperately try to return into the beloved former condition.

In other words, protected from the primeval refuge.
With the feeling that nothing has changed since those few months, we face life, growing and suffering as if they were the same thing, and everything could be smooth or arduous as long as we may count or not, in every moment we will feel the need, on the possibility of find refuge in the place where we were raised.
Call them parents, family, use the word home too, yours or mine, the result doesn’t change, because where they act with the sufficient amount of affection and care, at any time you will encounter obstacles too big for you, you will always know where come back.
To find refuge, as I said.
Thus, as a result of all that, the true protagonist of this brief tale, our body, learns what it itself suggests, in the same way as the lesson that our parents gave us over time. And if you have the good luck that everything will work out for the best, if you’ll need it, there will be something or someone to take care of you.
To offer you the refuge you deserve.
Anyway, we are dealing with nature on its perfection, demonstrated by multiple examples.
When the memory removes from our mind some excessively unpleasant memories, it gives refuge to what could make us suffer more than necessary.
When the pain is too much to be compressed in the heart, the tears will drag it out of you, seeking refuge in the others’ compassion.
Where the fear of living, or dying, will become unbearable by the undeniable limits of your imagination, the latter will show you a magical gift inherent in itself: the much-undervalued fantasy, or the ability to fill the gaps carved by the life’s erosion through all the possible, or impossible, wonders.
Well, I still consider it one of the human refuge that I could hardly do without for the rest of my time.
Because we are a refuge for ourselves, even before others, for better or worse.
Our most vulnerable feelings suddenly become impregnable fortresses, fearing that they will might be contaminated by others, even if the unexpected mixture could turn into love.
Meanwhile, however, we believe to protect ourselves and we are proud of having done everything alone.
Nevertheless, we are also capable of the opposite, when our fragile soul finally decides to break down the bricks of pride that make up the walls on the edge of our solitude.
In that extraordinary moment, we are refuge for one another, and together, in turn, we can be the same for those who listen or watch us, from near or far.
It’s like when we see people dancing, lucky for the sole reason of having found the courage to trust the musical notes, and we feel the irresistible desire to join the dance as an instinctive reaction.
This is also the example of how many things in the world could offer refuge to anyone, for free.
I'm talking about music, which despite our negligence in the general storytelling, was here before us and will be there later.
I'm talking about the blank page that had the generosity to host these words of mine.
I'm talking about you reading them, showing the patience to welcome them.
Thank you, really, because right now, even just for a moment, you are giving refuge to my dreams inside you. And I know how many we all have of unspoken desires, to appreciate how much the gift of making space to others is worth.
That’s why I strongly think that, if today is dedicated to refugees in the world it’s like saying that it’s everyone's celebration.
Because seeking refuge, or giving it, are the most frequent and significant actions of living as human beings.


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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Italians first? No, everybody

Stories and News No. 1166
 
Once upon a time a school.
To be precise, when I say school, I mean the building, but also inside.
At least in this short story the students and their precious teachers were one with the foundations, the supporting structure, the windows and the ceiling, as well as the walls.
Walls which – it should always be remarked – are not only allowed to divide, but also to support and protect the weakest ones, not just the opposite.
Well, the previous night someone left testimony of his thought, or delirium, on the walls next to the entrance gate.
Italians first, this is the writing that children and parents saw the next morning. It would have been impossible not to see it, as it was very large.
Some of the adults commented briefly on that, some complained about the usual carelessness by the education ministry, but most tried to ignore the aggressive message.
It was certainly not a new phrase in their eyes and their ears; and it's well known. When you get used to a slogan that incessantly precipitates from above as if it was normal stuff, like rain or snow, regardless of how ignoble or virtuous it might be, it becomes an integral part of the common language.

However, that day, in front of that wall, there weren’t only adults.
In this regard, I’ll be wrong, but I'm still convinced that our greatest chance to get out of the darkest periods is that in the world there are more witnesses to our mistakes than we realize. Even if we persist in every age to underestimate them.
In particular, a group of fourth grade children was very impressed by the warning and once they reach the threshold of the classroom they decide to go along with it.
For the record, some kids stopped at the edge of the door: Jian, Oksana, Ahmed, Ileana and Rodrigo, superficially definable the exotic portion of the classroom, if only limiting ourselves to negligible trifles like the name’ singularity or the relatives’ origins.
Italians first, they thought in unison, or we should give precedence to them. No problem, if this was the rule, they seemed to say. In other words, we’re used to something worse. This is acceptable, you know? That’s okay, we’ll enter immediately afterwards. Just let us enter.
It seemed to have ended there, and it would have been so, if we weren't talking about young creatures, who are by nature devoted to surprising those who trudge behind them due to excess of prejudice, rather than years.
In fact, Giorgio, Maria, Daniela, Piero, Claudio one and Claudio two also stopped on the threshold.
Italians first, they thought more or less at the same time. That is, it’s up to us to be kind and polite first, giving priority to those who come from afar.
It seemed the right conclusion about the impasse, but other comrades eager to differentiate themselves. And, sorry, but the diversity of points of views and the willingness to
freely express them are among the healthiest innate aspects of humans, and it should be encouraged.
In this case, Sara called Saretta, Francesco known as Fra, Silvano known as Silvano, as well as Gaia, Katia and Fabio - also famous as the chronic latecomers - froze like their mates a moment before entering the room.
Italians first, they thought while crossed by sincere contrition for the continuous entries far beyond the bell. And with shared conviction they apologized publicly to their companions. Because first us, who were here before the foreigners, should be those to give the good example on how to behave. And leave to the teachers the task of being teachers.
Well, after a short time all the children stopped at the door for the most disparate reasons, when their teacher arrived.
The woman asked for explanations and as soon as she realized what had happened she rejoiced.
She smiled with sorrow and hope, the best weapons against the shouted and even legalized obtuseness.
"Come in," she said, inviting the children to step into the classroom with a delicate hand gesture.
"Italians first?" One of them asked.
No, was the answer in her look as much the words.
Everybody first.


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Thursday, May 16, 2019

European elections 2019: how to vote on planet Titanic

Stories and News No. 1165
 
Most of what personally concerns me doesn’t count now. My selfish interests and my aspirations don’t matter. Not right now, when once again we’re a few days from the umpteenth moment when our vote is required to choose a party, a vision, moreover the people who’ll decide our future as humanity, even before citizens and nations.
I move to the window that looks out on the outside world, the real or the imagined one. With great perplexity I close my eyes and I see.
I see our beloved and mistreated mother earth that over

time has turned into a strange kind of planet-shaped ship, which sails without sails or engine, driven on her journey by the sheer weight of her passengers, bringing an unmistakable name on: Titanic.
The word is enough to those with memory and maybe a bit of common sense survived during the trip.
I’m a simple cabin’s boy on board and perhaps this is not a coincidence, just as it’s not so unusual that it’s precisely the most expendable crew members who abandon the duties assigned by the sea hierarchy to reach the command bridge and protest.
"Sir, a word," I exclaim with all the strength that
still resists in my tired body, refusing to surrender before the cynical sentences of the monster called reality.
The man is a captain like many of these times, who are leader only on paper and some social networks, but have never studied the sublime art of driving a ship, let alone learned to read the stars or decipher the recommended routes by the world map designers.
"What do you want?" He abruptly asks, interrupted during a silly talk with the other officers.
"Captain," I say, fueling my courage. "We’ve got a problem."
"I know, boy," he replies. "They chose me for that, but those invaders won’t be able to get on board. Why do you think did I order the sailors to watch the ship from bow to stern day and night? "
The invaders, he says, and I can't help but think of those unlucky people floating among the waves around us, driven by the desperate desire to survive.
Some of them come from makeshift boats pouring down because were built with waste materials we made ourselves or rammed by us.
Others are born among the waves or we’ve thrown them out because the crew come first, never humanity, as the modern flags say.
Once we shouted man overboard, I remember. Now the first sentence that is pronounced in these cases is a question that tastes of hostility, never solidarity: is he one of us?
In any case, I don’t give up.
"Captain, sorry..."
"Are you still here?" He replies annoyed by my presence. "Oh, I understand. You want a selfie with me. Good, go upstairs and come here, but then go back to work. "
I've made a lot of stairs in my life, upwards and often down, but I don't think there is a universe among the infinite possible ones where I could walk on them for such a questionable reason. Then I remain impassive and I insist.
"Captain..."
"Boy," screams the wrong version of the mythical Ahab, with the heart and maybe also the wooden head, instead of the leg. "Why do you bother and don't go back to your duty?"
"I can't," I say.
I don't want and I don't have to, I think but I don't add, biting my tongue.
"Can't you go back to work? Fine. As you well know my officers and I set up the basic ship income. Enjoy our magnanimity and go away. "
"But the problem would still be here, Captain," I exclaim with growing irritation in the tone of my voice. "And it's not just mine, but everyone's."
"What is it, a threat? A terrorist! Guards, take him! "
All of a sudden I am surrounded by grim looks and rifle barrels thirsty for helpless victims.
"I'm not a terrorist," I immediately want to clarify, and I try to explain myself anyway. "Do you know what month we're in?"
The captain and his associates burst into laughter at the aforementioned question, perhaps because they feel saved by the alleged attack on their safety.
"We’re in May, boy, and now that I have solved your stupid doubt, you can go back washing the floors and polishing the cannons."
Suddenly I realize that I have to say it all in one breath, otherwise the poor listening ability of the guy to whom we entrusted our destiny will prevent me from communicating my whole thoughts.
"We’re in May, captain, yes. We’re in mid-May, to be precise, but our ship is still shaken by wind and rain. We’re in late May, that the previous ship diaries still delude us to indicate it as spring peak or even summer prelude. We're in the middle of May, sir, and it's cold. Particularly at sunrise and at dusk. As if at the beginning and at the end of these crazy days of ours, like the story that hosts us, at the moment when the attention of the reader should be higher, the sky did its best to warn us that yes, we have a problem as big as the world itself. Because that problem is the world, and we're the cause or the solution, no alternatives. "
Needless to talk about what outcome my heartfelt outburst had, but now that I am in chains in a cell of the hold, condemned for insubordination, I don’t regret what I’ve done.
Why, will you say? What motivates my obstinacy?
In that moment I open my eyes and the dream dissolves, but this doesn’t prevent me from continuing to see.
And I see crucial questions that should be asked every candidate to drive our ship, big or small.
What will you do to respect the environment and climate change? What is your strategy for global warming? What is your opinion on sustainable energies and renewable resources?
The choice is yours, as always, but the only possibility we have to survive tomorrow is to exclude, no ifs or buts, those who aren’t able to provide serious and reasonable answers to these questions.
Let alone those who don’t even consider them...


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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Why I quit social media

And why you should too...

It's a bit long, I know that, but I have to say all.
In any case, I finally did it. It took a while and I admit it wasn't easy. It was a process of rediscovered or renewed awareness that wasn’t immediate. It needed intermediate steps.
I must admit that also studies and other contributions on the topic gave me the final push.
So, recently I deactivated my profiles and related pages on the various social media I had subscribed in the last years, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I have kept only the Youtube channel since I never considered it a social network like the aforementioned ones and for various reasons, such as the greater freedom to control the contents and the way of sharing them.
Let's get to the title: why did I make this decision?
At the time when I began to consider this choice, years ago, there were already enough reasons to me, but as I started to think about it with more commitment and, above all, to study and read about, I found a lot more of them.

Well, every time I think about it, I discover others, tormenting me with another question: why didn't I do it before?
Anyway, enough with preamble, let's get to the answer, that is, the answers.
I was lucky or not to experience the World Wide Web’s rising and all that it has brought to our society.
Moreover, I would like to say that this is not a lesson or a mini-essay, but only a heartfelt sharing.
Nevertheless, although in the last twenty-five years I spent my energies and concentrated every passion between artistic expression and therapeutic field work, I have a degree in computer science.
Therefore, also for this reason, I reacted immediately with fervent interest looking at the spread of internet and its potential.
I know I am not an easy person, I have my faults and among them there is certainly stubbornness and obstinacy in wanting to do things my way.
For this reason I immediately saw internet, with its possibility to connect between each other in a horizontal way, as a unique opportunity.
I hate compromises and, more than ever about the things I strongly believe, I tend to refuse them without any discussion.
That’s why, once I sensed the multiple chances within the new way of meeting each other, I literally threw myself on it.
It solved a huge problem of mine and I’m not at all sure that I’d have followed the path I pursued if there had been no internet.
As I started to say at the very beginning of my career, I'm just one who writes. But at the same time, also because of complicate childhood and adolescence, since then I can't, accept as normal shameful ways of interacting between us just because everyone does it.
For this reason, knowing myself, when I was just a young aspiring author and actor, I didn’t prefigure a gratifying horizon.
But then the internet came and everything changed.
Thanks to it I was able to get in touch with many extraordinary traveling companions and also thanks to their help I have seen my words published and disseminated, listened to and mixed with those of others. And the past part is that I’ve been able to preserve more or less intact a good dose of consistency with my principles.
The reason is simple, in my humble opinion. Corruption of our ideals almost always passes through the interference that rains from the top from the powerful “saviors” who come to reward you with a flamboyant consecration, giving you their precious help.
As if they really did all that for free...
I would like to emphasize this with my personal experience: differently from the past, internet is a phenomenal tool to make us an active society and to realize individual and collective aspirations, without loosing quality and fundamental values of the initial intentions.
However, like many others, I too fell into one of the most blatant deceptions of our time: to believe that social media are internet or that they work more or less in the same way.
Well, the day after my final exit from the tunnel, I am here to affirm without hesitation that Facebook and all the others are nothing but sticky and dangerous spider webs.
Like the latter, they look like a network, yet they are something else.
Whether you are a writer, an actor, or an artist of any kind, a professional in any field, but also just a person who uses it as a hobby or a game, even before bringing up the damage they can do to our mind and our life, I would like to point out what they’re not, but that is precisely what they promise.
I take my work as an example, so I say something more concrete. For as long as I have used them the response to the diffusion of my stories, the books’ sales, the shows’ audience and the chances of having favorable contacts about artistic jobs is zero.
Even if I’ve got lots of likes and shares, loving hearts and even ecstatic comments of two lines or so, the outcome in the real world was almost nothing.
At the same time I won’t get back the wasted hours and no compensation for the continued distraction to my real work, as well as the disastrous fragmentation of my concentration from the damn smartphone’s buzzer or the notification at the top of the computer screen.
I have never achieved a single contact on any social media that has subsequently led me to realize something concrete outside of it.
Let's face it all. Despite the terminology that has been abused so much, thanks to social media I have no new friends beside me. I mean real ones, staying close to me when I really need it, to say one of the most banal reason.
Among my stories that have obtained the most authoritative awards, and that still today prove to have passed the time’s proof, most of them have been almost completely ignored once they appeared on social media.
Furthermore, you can’t imagine how many times I found myself checking that people who had digitally appreciated and shared my work they had not read or seen it at all.
Even if my departure has started gradually, during the past months I have almost completely reduced my presence on social media.
Well, you have no idea how much my work has earned from it, both in terms of the amount of time and, above all, quality.
A few months ago, talking to friends about my imminent decision, leaving some of them astonished or even upset, obviously one of them asked me the fateful question: how will you do with books and shows? Don't you need social media to promote them?
Apart from what I have already said above, as proof of the poor contribution of the latter to the actual promotion of my work, there is another aspect that I consider fundamental which I would like to talk about.
As far as I am concerned, I have ideals that I care about, as many have, and often they merge with what I write and bring on stage.
I'm not perfect and more than ever I'm not a saint, far from it. I often suffer from what I don't do or what I do wrong.
Nevertheless, among them there is certainly respect for human rights and attention to the world's poor, retaining the human person’s value as a central and indispensable element, as well as having priority over all considerations.
I firmly believe that peace and democracy are something for which to struggle every day, at every moment, as something that is not and never will be definitively acquired, but the result of a perennial action.
I’m convinced, finally, that internet is above all an opportunity to give voice and support to the most disadvantaged and oppressed creatures on the planet, counteracting the manipulated and anesthetizing system narrative by governments and their more or less secret servants.
Well, the question I have asked myself several times over the years and that I share with you is this: how could we be coherent with such ideals and at the same time giving up our identity to the adverse subjects, among inhuman multinationals, criminal organizations and disturbing government institutions?
Because all social media work essentially of them. They are like a hallucinatory journey that makes us prisoners in a sort of spider's web, as I said above, where we are convinced to go somewhere, doing something and meeting others, while we are nothing but food for the rapacious marketing weavers, as well as goods for buyers and sellers of our more personal data.
In return, they have made our hopes more vulnerable and fragile.
They have moved us away from each other instead of getting closer.
They have increased our anxiety and stress rate.
They made us weaker as individuals and as groups.
They are manipulating and exploiting us.
They are drugging us, ultimately, immobilizing us between the dwarf of our fears and the giant of our dreams.
Because who are stars and celebrities outside the social media, they continue to be thanks to the adoring fans inside of it, and those who aspire to the wonderful firmament are under the illusion of approaching obtaining or even purchasing thousands of followers and likes.
If we were in the Matrix movie and I was Morpheus I would now strongly recommend to take the red pill.
Fortunately, believe me, for everyone's luck, we're not in a movie and, as far as I'm concerned, not even in a social media.
We are on the internet, of course, and as one of my former university professors said, we are internet.
And in my humble opinion we are infinitely better than a retouched photo and some viral posts.


Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher
 

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

My social network

A short story by
Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher

A tale from the future, or the present too. It always depends on where you choose to travel with your own imagination...

That’s peace, that’s what I called serenity.
All thanks to the new world where I was born.
To be honest, to those who designed, implemented and sold it.
I've got peace, now.
Especially tonight, this early spring’ Saturday, under the shelter of my beloved apartment, my very thick walls, the surgically armored front door and all the fabulous double glazing windows.
May the sacred operating system, which controls all of us, bless them.
I’m calm, finally, because my diligent voice assistant just told me that I have no other option available, since I have reached the maximum level of quiet within the social media.
I've always called it my social network, despite it has become a colossal spider web as big as the planet itself.
Yes, I know. It sounds disturbing. It looks like the work of an evil creature who longs to trap the naive people of the earth, unaware of being destined to become food for the monster. But these are delusions from conspiracy maniacs, who never disappear, unfortunately.
It's not my case.
I learned the lesson. It took me a while like everyone else, but finally I recognized and profited from the advantages of the digital relationship.
Three among the many: first, nobody forces us to disagree. Second, nobody forces us to listen to other people's dissent. Third, no one can agree with our thinking better than ourselves.
On the other hand it’s the system itself, with its cookies and the incessant collection of our data, that pushes us to connect only with those who think like us.
I still remember when I started this slow but inexorable journey towards the goal I just reached.

It was after the umpteenth discussion with Mark91.
By the way, we’ve been friends for more than thirty years and it’s only for that I had not yet blocked him, but he had no better hobby than contradict my statements.
Friends... I never even met him, actually. I only know that he is passionate about fishing, that he was born in 1991, or at least I believe so for his name, and that he has the face of Snoopy. I’m not saying that he looks like the latter, right? I mean that he has always shown exactly the famous cartoon character as avatar, that’s all.
On the other hand, today friendship and any other type of relationship are just these. With the freezing cold outside, who wants to put the nose out?
Well, he was the first that I kicked out from the list.
I still remember the words, which then became a sort of daily refrain: "Lisa - my voice assistant is called like my late mother - delete Mark91 from the friends list."
It was only the beginning of a real carnage.
"Lisa, get rid of all those who stutter."
Listen, I can't stand them. Someone could bring up the fact that the guy who my ex-wife betrayed me was a heavy stutterer, but I didn't want to go into it, okay?
Peace and serenity were my priorities and I wasn’t afraid of cutting off every annoying branch.
"Lisa", I continued, "exclude from the list all those taller than myself."
"Both males, females and others?".
Affirmative, I said. The comparison with other people in a position of inferiority makes me uncomfortable.
"Lisa, expel all vegetarian and environmentalist people in general."
I mean, the glaciation has now arrived. I couldn't stand greens and energy-saving fanatics before, let alone now.
In any case, I went on like this for days, it took me almost two months, but in the end I managed to eradicate from my friendly archive all the persons who could in any way cause me the slightest irritation.
From those with too long hair to those who comment with too many hearts, from those who never offer a like on what I say to those who never reply a private message, from those who boast themselves with tons of photos of their fantastic journeys in wonderful places to those who have all the time in the world to share their thoughts, but not even a second to read yours, etc.
And you have no idea how vast the last etcetera might be.
That's why, a little while ago, Lisa told me the extraordinary news.
"Congratulations," she exclaimed with a digital but radiant voice’s tone. "You have just risen to the social level called nirvana."
"What do you mean, Lisa?" I asked excitedly.
"You have reached the dimension of absolute calm."
"What?"
"You entered the elite realm of hermits."
"Lisa... can you explain better?"
"You cleared the friends list, dude."
Oops, I muttered, going down to the couch. I've done it.
Now I have the absolute certainty that, whenever I connect, nobody will be able to interfere in any way with my peace and my serenity.
I can finally say, without fear of denial, that I’m on my social network.
Am I right?
...
Do you agree?
...
Is anybody out there?
...
Please don't leave me alone...
...
Lisa? Are you there, at least you?
I haven't canceled you yet, have I?


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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Who are the others?

Stories and News No. 1164
 
While I scroll among newspaper articles and social delusions disguised as blogs and informative pages I’ve got the same feeling that these days is often inside myself and it's not a good one.
Confining to the popular and most widespread news, I have the impression of seeing and reviewing, reading and rereading, stuff already seen and read, but which are repeated cyclically each time in a more grotesque and pathetic version.
It’s surprising only in that, as if the entire world were trapped in a kind of loop that every time brings us back to the starting point.
Then, in addition to the restlessness that all this entails, I am overcome by the fear of finding myself an integral part of this show that has long since expired.
Perhaps by writing something that I have already written, with the same words, but deprived of the precious originality.
Nevertheless, I cannot help but notice, at this very moment, how obvious in my humble opinion is the enormous blunder that blinds us all, more or less.
This deceptive glow has convinced us that we have understood who the others are, who have now become the ideal enemies against which to build every strategy for the present as well as the future.
Yet, day after day I’m more convinced that who we call the others are what they’re not.



The others is not just a word.
They’re not a population, they’re not a nation and neither an ethnic group.
The others cannot be photos of men arrested on a newspaper or even all the people in the world who claim to believe in the same god they believe.
The others are not the profile pictures on internet.

 

The others are not random guys who scream absurdity in a video, however it might be seen and shared.
The others are not what some people plot for you and everyone else.
Similarly, the others are not a few dozen people aboard a ship that most of us will never meet for as long as we have left.
The others are not and will never be all those beyond a wall.
The others are not just a seemingly wrong color.
The others are not a language incomprehensible to you.
The others are not even the affection for a food of unusual taste.
Because the others, luckily, are not the protagonist of a joke of bad taste and vulgar intentions.
They’re not the sacrificial victims of a lie disguised as an electoral plan.
They’re not the ones you have learned to fear and oppose only by crossing their gaze, perhaps sitting behind the wheel in the shelter of your car, or in a crowded subway train asking for as much protection on a mobile phone screen.
For the same reason, the others are not how they are represented in the usual, bad movie or yet another superficial book, despite the illustrious awards for the former and the lying binders for the latter.
They are not something you can judge and condemn in a few seconds just because you have been asked to do it by those who promised you that you will feel better later.
Since the others are not a collection of letters, although it has entered everyone's vocabulary.
They’re not just names, let alone all the ways you were taught to call them.
It seems trivial to point out, but the others cannot be the instruments to define millions of people, generations of lives already lived or only at the beginning of the journey, as much as entire continents that you have only seen on a documentary.
The others are not all that, here is what we should repeat ourselves incessantly every time we read and reread, we see and see again the horrible design in which some people would like to imprison us forever.
Because I’m more than ever convinced that others could be everyone of us, without exception. You, he, she and, of course, the others. At this moment, I am too one of them, but even if you’ve read these words thoroughly – of which I thank you from the bottom of my heart, most of you don’t know me personally and it’s mutual.
Nevertheless, “personally” is a wonderful word, don't you think?



As much as we could fill our social network’s home and our head too, our posts and speeches, of faces and words that only apparently are familiar to us, it still remains the only way to understand who the others are...


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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Defense is always legitimate?

Stories and News No. 1163
 
Let's say I'm a person like many others.
Many more than the ones counted inside the storytelling that pleases and, above all, has got the task of being liked.
Hence, don’t focus on someone in particular, but take these words as the heartfelt message that could come out from a complex and ever more rich variety of humans, distinguished by their heterogeneity.
Let’s imagine, in this regard, that I’m hurriedly considered a different creature or, superficially, part of a minority. Equally guilty seen as negligible value and absentmindedly moved towards the perennial role of subordinate appearance.
I could therefore be, trivially, a desperate immigrant or perhaps simply a clandestine, a repeatedly maltreated woman or an individual with an unfairly criminalized sexuality, an abused child in the silence of a condominium or a forgotten elder, but those in need and therefore uncomfortable, and others.
Yet today, I am a happy person and at the same time confused, because, looking through the news, I feel exultation by reading that from today the defense will be always legitimate in Italy.
Understandable, isn't it?
Heaven, or whoever, is a witness to us about how much we others need to defend ourselves...
Nevertheless, wishing to further investigate the topic, I learn that this suggestive title is due to the fact that the Italy Senate has definitively approved the reform on legitimate defense.



Thus, here is the aforementioned perplexity, which assails me, reading the name of the party that has strongly committed itself to having this law approved. I am referring to the far-right League, of course, and pronouncing the word still troubles me.
However, I try not to let myself be influenced by the emotions, and I continue to shed light on what happened, focusing on the words of the vice minister Matteo Salvini: “After years of chatter and controversy, the sacrosanct right to self-defense for those attacked at home was approved. We don’t distribute weapons, we don’t legitimize the Far West but we stand with decent citizens.”
If I didn't know who he is, I could even put the loss aside, and concentrate on the facts, striving to believe blindly in Salvini's words.
It would be enough for me to take them literally. On the other hand, he expresses himself in the official guise, since he has sworn on it and he’s richly paid for that.
Thus, I repeat in my head, first, and then aloud the essence of the fundamental change that also concerns us: the sacrosanct right to self-defense has been sanctioned for those attacked at home.
Well, guys, I want to trust the man.
I really believe that, perhaps, I should change my mind about him.
He said he didn’t push this law because, along with his peers, he signed a pact with the arms lobbies, but because he is on the side of decent citizens.
Well... at this point my confusion becomes inescapable, stifling the enthusiasm of a few moments ago.
The fact is that people like us are daily attacked, in their own homes or outside, without distinction, in most of the cases by so-called decent citizens.
Both physically and verbally, we are assailed at every moment – and I’m sure it’s happening even now... - with violence and arrogance, hatred and indifference, injustice and inhumanity, ignorance and even intolerance, yes it is.
Often, even by the aforementioned minister Salvini and his associates, for decades, not just yesterday.
So, in conclusion, I must confess that contentment and confusion are at this point swept away by a faint hope, despite being weighed down by a growing sense of anguish: that this latest change in the rules that our government has introduced is really not aimed at encouraging the weapons’ sale.
Because it would be really dangerous if all the people who feel attacked and upset convince themselves that they can legitimately defend themselves by buying and above all using a gun or a rifle. And that they might do it more easily and even without paying the consequences.
Because, in my humble opinion, voters and supporters of this law have not the faintest idea who they are, how many they are and what are the conditions of instability they live in...


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Thursday, March 21, 2019

We invaded you

Stories and News No. 1162
 
In Italy a 13 years old boy save himself and the other students on a school bus hijacked from the driver calling help with his cell phone.

We invaded you.
Yes, it's true, I mean it.
It’s useless to deny it: we invaded you.
In countless ways, we did it.
Like "the attacker" and "the hero", the former armed with petrol cans and the latter with a phone, with which to call the police, if necessary. And sheltered by such popular masks, made so by the rumor of newspapers, here are the only features that serve the intended storytelling: "the bad immigrant" and "the good one".
But also the "Islamic terrorist" and the "brave citizen", despite according to the law the latter is still nothing more than a foreigner.
It matters something to know that for the man Islamic terrorism is excluded. But, if this "something" becomes little for the majority of people, why ask further questions?
Because what is now indelible, and must remain so the next day, is what we have done in very suspicious times: we invaded you, remember?
Then, let's not forget our origins: we’re "the Senegalese guy" and "the Egyptian kid".
Because our skin speaks for us, and we should scream at the top of our lungs to overwhelm the din, without getting to seize a bus to get that. Also because we would do nothing but increase the blaring where we have fallen, willy-nilly.
Yet, in tragic situations like these, the distinctions that should always make the difference come out, if you forgive the trivial repetition.
Even where life itself is at stake, or perhaps precisely in those moments, the role assigned by social rules could be experienced in the opposite way.
"The driver" and "the student" take different paths, and it happens more often than you imagine.
The one who should accompany the youngest to the place that will hopefully help them grow, suddenly takes the wrong direction and points towards the ravine beyond which his own mad sadness sinks.
At the same time, in order to face him, as if completing a sort of allegorical equation, the pupil removes his usual ordinance dress and relies on the true wealth that distinguishes all the populations to which he is often associated. What for ever and ever is one of the main prerogatives that makes us human. Read also as the tenacious, moving and irrepressible desire to survive.
We both often forget who we should be on this journey. It happens every day, anywhere, to anyone. And, from one moment to another, we become what we are.
That’s how something transpires, after the smoke of the click baiting titles and the catching "social networks likes" screams thins out.
This is the way by which we also become names, as well as the rest.
Ousseynou and Ramy.
In spite of this, if we add our faces as well, the inevitable subtext would be inviolate.



We have invaded you. And nothing of what has been said so far could affect this concept, set in the common memory of an entire country like the imprints of Hollywood movie stars. Made famous by the memory of the hands and the name, where in our case, instead of the former ones, there are the signs of the skin made guilty by definition.
Because that's how we did it.
It’s undoubted, it has already done, it’s happening even now, at this very moment, and it will certainly not end today.
No need to ignore it. Indeed, it’s even wrong to do so.
It’s a story that must be listened to and told, but to the end, once and for all.
Because we have invaded you, of course.
But not really us, you see?
Certainly not "the man" and "the boy", what we really are out there, beyond this screen, one in prison and the other luckily at home with his loved ones.
What entered with violence and hatred in your lives were just words, lots of words, infamous and inhuman words.
The ones that normally represent us, that’s what is attacking us all.
Now you know who you should expel, against whom you should raise walls and who really puts your peace and ours at risk.
Fortunately, you and us are something else and much more than a collection of letters.
Maybe it wouldn't hurt to meet in person sometimes...


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